"Fall down seven times, get up eight."
In life, we all have falls. We have those cringey moments that we're ashamed of, we do things we wish we hadn't and from time to time, yes of course we make mistakes. That's a given and regardless how much we wish to be perfect in all that we do, we just can't be. Sh*t happens. We are only human.
But falling down really hurts and when we find ourselves back on the ground again, we can spiral into the murky pit of a shame hangover. We isolate, or beat ourselves up or repeat what we've done 'wrong' over and over in our minds. We become consumed by fear, anxiety, sadness and shame.
But none of this helps us get back up. Obviously.
So we need a way to get back on our feet, we need to be the ones offering ourselves a helping hand to yank us up off the ground and back into life.
So when we feel like we've messed up, what can we do?
1. Take Responsibility
If we stay down there burying our heads in the sand, acting like nothing has happened, we won’t grow from it. So whatever's occurred, we need to acknowledge and accept it. This is not a time to blame anyone else, it’s not for us to make excuses. It's for us to be aware so that we can avoid a repeat.
Sometimes we need to take responsibility for the fall, but in every case we need to take responsibility for getting back up. Instead of overthinking it, we really just need to honestly acknowledge what has happened and call it as it is - not with added drama or despair but just a realistic - 'This is what it is, I don't like it and I am moving on from it'.
There’s no merit in playing the victim, especially not when you could strive to be the victor.
2. Forgive Yourself
Making mistakes can really throw us sometimes, even when we have the best of intentions, we can lose the run of ourselves and setbacks happen. And that sucks, but it can happen. So we need to ask for forgiveness and give it. And I mean genuinely give it – that doesn’t mean saying it out loud but then giving sly digs to ourselves after, or continuing to ruminate on the issue over and over. It means saying ‘I forgive you’ and making sure our actions show that.
We can be our own harshest critics a lot of the time so when we’re feeling a bit beat up as it is, it’s a good idea to practice self-compassion. In fact it's absolutely crucial.
3. Let Go
In the aftermath of a fall, we can tend to use the experience as a whip against ourselves. We use it as proof of our lack of worth or as confirmation that we’re not good enough. That’s not going to help us in the slightest and I think even when we know this, we sometimes still hold on.
Letting go means we take our learnings and we move on. It means we stop carrying around this heavy reminder of our slipups. We don’t need ammunition against ourselves, we need support and kindness.
It’s worth realising too that not everyone else is as critical of you as you are. They are not thinking of your mistakes or spending their time analysing you as a person based on one event. Everyone is mostly focused on themselves.
So let go of the fears of their judgement, their disappointment, their whatever. Focus on yourself and build yourself back up without the weight of assumptions and fears.
4. Make A Plan to Move Forward
Making a point of taking the learning from these situations is where we gain strength. When we actively learn from our flaws we become stronger and more in control. So we need to make a plan to use what we now know and ensure that we grow from this, that we move forward and away from those feelings.
Take note of how we can avoid this happening again, what tools could we have used and how we’ll ensure to access them next time. Be proactive in taking something from the experience and see what could have been done differently, without judgement.
5. Start Again
'Get up, show up, dress up and don't ever give up.' When we can successfully pick ourselves up after a fall, we’re in a prime position to start again. Sometimes we’re even more focused, more refreshed and more ready to take on what’s next because we’ve nurtured ourselves back up off the ground and we know we’ve got our own back.
Starting fresh is a wonderful opportunity to apply the fruits of our perceived failure, it’s where we can show our renewed strength and commitment to growth. Luckily we can start again at any moment, so take your time to firstly heal and then firmly plant your feet in the direction of where you want to go.
When we're sensitive and we're striving to people please, we can take our downfalls pretty hard. We expect so much from ourselves that it's simply not feasible to always measure up. So maybe even more than others we need to have some kind of contingency plan for helping ourselves back up. We need to recognise that we're trying and that we have the resilience and determination to continue trying regardless how many times we find ourselves on the ground.
With the right attitude and a hefty dose of kindness towards ourselves, we will find that we're staying strong on our feet for much longer, unwavering and in control.
Getting back will always allow us to strengthen the muscles needed to do this.
'Failure doesn’t come from falling down, failure comes in not getting back up.'